Tour August’s Sky! | July 30th, 2010

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S&T: Lauren Darby
Prospects are good for this month's Perseid meteor shower — there's no interference from Moonlight! The year's best-known display of "shooting stars" peaks on the night of August 12-13.

Meanwhile, low in the west at dusk, you can see the climax of a celestial show that’s been many weeks in the making. The “star” of this show is brilliant Venus, which this month is at its best and brightest. Hovering nearby are Mars and Saturn.

Swinging southward, you’ll first encounter the bright star Spica, a blue-white superstar that outshines the Sun by 12,000 times. Farther to its left is the reddish star is Antares, big enough to swallow up the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars!

As Venus, Mars, and Saturn dance in the west after sunset, giant Jupiter rises later on in the east. You can't see it by eye, but distant Uranus lies just a few to degrees to the giant planet's upper right.

Want a personally guided tour of all these sky sights and more? Then download August's audio sky tour. It's a 6-megabyte MP3 file that's not quite 7 minutes long.